Aruba Approves Civil Unions For Same-Sex Couples

The country's parliament voted to approve changing the civil code on Thursday.

Aruba has voted to approve civil unions for same-sex couples, granting them many of the same benefits provided to married people on island.

On Thursday, the Aruban Parliament voted 11-5 (with four abstentions) to amend regulations related to marriage to include same-sex unions—including access to spousal pensions and authority to make emergency medical decisions.

Aruba is a constituent part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, where same-sex marriage is legal. Previously, gay couples had to travel to the Netherlands, marry, and then return in order to have their relationship officially recognized.

Senator Desiree de Sousa-Croes, who made that trip to marry her partner, introduced a civil-unions bill in August.

“I would have wanted same-sex marriage,” Croes said after the vote. “But this amendment will eliminate the need to travel to the Netherlands to marry, as our laws will soon provide rights for same-sex couples.”

The Caribbean is one of the most polarized regions in the world when it comes to LGBT rights.

LGBT and Aruba flag on concrete wall

Many Arubans still oppose same-sex relationships on religious and grounds and other former Dutch colonies, Sint Maarten and Curacao, still do not recognize same-sex unions.

Meanwhile, Homosexuality is illegal in Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Sait Kitts, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.

Same-sex marriage is legal in the Caribbean Netherlands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as the French departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique and the overseas collectivities of Saint Martin and Saint Barthélemy.

Below, Javeion discusses how homelessness plagues LGBT people in his native Jamaica, some of whom are forced to live in the sewers after being rejected by their families.

For more on international LGBT issues visit Logo’s Global Ally site.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery